‘A huge heart:’ Family of 24-year-old organ donor meets recipient, hears heartbeat

Data pix.

MILWAUKEE -- An emotional meeting took place Monday, Sept. 9 at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center between two families forever linked by a special gift. It was more than a year in the making.

Nykia Julien was once again walking without losing her breath, thanks to Rachael Taylor.

Taylor clutched a bear tightly, containing the heartbeat of her son. His heart keeps Julien alive.

"I prayed and hoped for this day, and I was hoping that'd I'd hear from you and we'd be able to meet," said Taylor.

Nykia Julian, Rachael Taylor

Nykia Julien, Rachael Taylor

Dylan

Dylan

Nykia Julian, Rachael TaylorTaylor's son, Dylan, died in August 2018 at the young age of 24.

"A huge heart," said Taylor of her son. "It was just, he really was loving. When he loved, he loved hard."

Julien was waiting for that heart, which saved her life. In August, she made a bear with her new heartbeat in it to give to Dylan's family. She was hopeful they would be interested in meeting, so they could hear the heartbeat in person.

"That's so strong," said Taylor.

Nykia Julian, Rachael Taylor

Nykia Julien, Rachael Taylor

The emotional meeting happened with doctors and others looking on, knowing this isn't always the way these stories end.

Officials with Versiti BloodCenter of Wisconsin said 22 people die every day waiting for an organ transplant.

Taylor said she was glad her son could do his part.

Nykia Julian, Rachael Taylor

"I hope that more people can experience something like this," said Taylor. "I think it's amazing. I feel blessed and grateful."

The two families said they planned to stay in touch.

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